INSIDER GUIDE 2021Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Published 8:25 am Wednesday, September 29, 2021
For some of the most breathtaking views in the area, visitors travel to The Pinnacle in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. The park offers miles of hiking trails, an intriguing museum, a beautiful cave, and a welcoming staff to help direct you to interesting stops during your time in Bell County.
The park spans miles in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia including the Cumberland Gap — where hundreds of thousands of settlers passed to gain land westward during the late 18th century. Artifacts and the story of their journey is on display at the museum in the visitors center.
After brushing up on history, visitors can walk through the Cumberland Gap, just as settlers did. Along the trail, you can hear rushing water — a beautiful mountain spring flowing from the mouth of Gap Cave.
Tours of the cave give visitors an inside look at growing stalactite formations, tiny bats, and possibly even a salamander. Rangers give an educational perspective on the significance of life underground and a basic understanding of karst, or cave-like, landscape.
The Iron Furnace, located in the town of Cumberland Gap, is a landmark that shows guests how iron ore was turned into pig iron which was used in factories. Part of the original furnace still stands to commemorate the importance of industry in the Civil War era and the strategic placement of the Cumberland Gap between the Union and Confederates.
Other noteworthy stops include White Rocks, Sand Cave, and Hensley Settlement, which all offer unique views, interesting geologic history or an antiquated homestead on top of a mountain.
Stop in at the Visitor’s Center and speak to a ranger who can help you plan your trip.
For those that wish to stay overnight at the park, tent and RV campers are welcomed. Several partial and full shade spots are available and offer a comfortable and safe place to enjoy the outdoors.
For more information or to make tour and camping reservations visit www.nps.gov/cuga or call the park visitors center at 606-248-2817.